If you've traveled in Europe at all during the past forty years, you may recognize the Transit name. Ford has been selling the ubiquitous White Van there since 1965. A smaller version - Transit Connect - was introduced in 2003 to extend the line. For 2009, us Yanks will get to share in the cutesy commercial van fun.
Ford sees the Transit Connect as a good choice for those making deliveries or service calls in congested urban areas. The van's unique proportions make it good for carrying a lot of stuff - 143 cubic ft - in a small footprint. It's also an eye-catching design, much like Scion's xB, that Ford thinks will turn heads and act as an effective mobile billboard for businesses.
North American Transit Connects will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic. Expect to see fuel economy in the neighborhood of 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg in highway driving.
These mini work vans will be available in either a two- or five-seat configuration, depending on your preference for stuff- or people-carrying. Rear doors that open 180 degrees and dual side sliders should aid in the input and removal of said stuffs and/or people.
Judging by Freightliner's and Dodge's success with selling the Sprinter in North America, we think buyers will appreciate this European-designed-and-engineered Ford van. And who knows, if it's popular, maybe we can convince Ford to replace the Econoline van with the full-size Transit.
Ford will show four Transit Connects outfitted for specific customers (wine merchant, catering company, blues band, and home theater installer) at the 2008 Chicago auto show. The vans will be built in Turkey alongside their European mates and will go on sale here in the middle of 2009.
Click the link below for high-resolution Transit Connect images.